tv Weekends With Alex Witt MSNBC September 29, 2013 9:00am-11:01am PDT
you make him rookie of the year. we took care of your cold symptoms. you take him on an adventure. tylenol® has been the number 1 doctor recommended brand of pain reliever for over 20 years. but for everything we do, we know you do so much more. tylenol®. on the brink. after an early morning vote in the house, a government shutdown now looms with a midnight deadline monday. >> house republicans are shutting down the government! >> we are simply offering a compromise of a year's delay. >> sound and fury, the expected shutdown comes after a loud debate on the house floor. and there's even more tangling in d.c. today. it may be the most important meeting for president obama this week. nothing to do with the government shutdown.
rather, it's his face to face with israel's prime minister talking iran. getting warmer. the latest climate report will be officially released tomorrow. it's a 600-page report. we're going to dig into what we've learned about that. hello, everyone. it's high noon here in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west. welcome to "weekends" with alex witt. t-minus one day until a possible government shutdown after the gop-led house passed a bill early this morning funding the government but delaying obama care by one year. new reaction today from one of the leading voices in this battle, republican senator ted cruz of texas. >> the house last night at 12:30 in the morning voted to keep the government open, to fully fund the government, but at the same time, the house responded to the millions of americans who are hurting under obama care. i think the senate needs to do the same thing. >> well, in response, senate democrats have signaled they will reject the house's latest
bill. here's democratic senator tim kain of virginia. >> we shouldn't be talking about government shutdown. let's talk reform. we want to do reforms of the affordable care act, the farm bill, immigration reform, but it's wrong to tie up to a government shutdown threat. >> there's also reaction from the white house with president obama saying he will veto the measure. let's go right to capitol hill and nbc's kelly o'donnell, who joins us again this day. kelly, do you see any way to avoid a government shutdown at this point, or has time run out? >> both parties, alex, have really staked their ground and both are really in a posture that says shut down is coming. in part, we can tell that because you have really seen your leaders who have seen a lot of these movies play out before acknowledge that shutdown is likely. and that's a troubling sign. is there time to avoid it? yes, technically there is. but the moves that each side would need to make are difficult, and they're difficult politically. not difficult in terms of getting people into a room and saying, let's find a way. there is a way, but politically
it's not doable right now. so here's what happens. today has become sort of a day of rest after the house spent hours debating and worked well into the wee hours to pass their alternative package. today, no public events are happening. that doesn't mean there aren't conversations among members, but there's no official negotiating or anything like that. tomorrow, monday, the last day of the current fiscal year, the senate will come back. now, some people might say, why is the senate not working today? why aren't they trying to get something done more quickly? well, part of that is strategy. harry reid and the democrats believe that the house needs to get the message that the senate will not agree with the plan they have passed in the early morning hours today. so by coming in at their usual time on a monday at 2:00 in the afternoon, they will then make a move to simply reject what the house has done. that triggers yet another volley. the house will get one more chance to pass some kind of a continuing funding for the government. but the senate will say, make no
attempt to change the health care law. so that's where we're at. sources do tell me the house will come up with some kind of an alternative, but they won't discuss publicly yet what that could be. they do want to let the senate play out. so we've got some steps to follow still to come, alex. >> okay. can we look ahead to the debt ceiling, which needs to be raised by october 17th? that's two short weeks from thursday. how does this spending bill and the pending shutdown affect that? >> well, there is a link, especially in terms of the move. we've got just over two weeks before the government runs out of its borrowing authority. any negotiation that happens in the next 48 hours or so could really spoil the well for the bigger issues of the debt ceiling. if the government doesn't pay its bills, if it risks the opportunity for another credit rating downgrade and all of the other things that could come with that, that spells trouble that really goes beyond just the realm, which is already bad
enough, of federal workers being furloughed. so what happens now does have an impact. they are two separate events, but there's a lot of overlap. just in terms of the political mood, that really is a factor. if they can't get it done now, makes it harder to come to a reasonable, some kind of result in a couple of weeks. alex? >> okay. nbc's kelly o'donnell. thank you from capitol hill. let's go to the other two critical votes. first up, the house unanimously passed a measure that would allow the government to pay members of the military. the vote there was for, 231 against zero. also, they voted to repeal a medical device tax. the vote there, 248-174. it went largely upon party lines. if the government does shut down, as a reminder, places like the statue of liberty and other parks will be closed. we'll take you there live and hear from tourists on what they think about this in a minute.
joining me now with the view inside the debate on capitol hill is congresswoman diane black. representative black, thank you for being here. >> oh, you're welcome. thank you for having me, alex. >> let's talk about the possibility of compromise. is there one you would be willing to accept that does not affect the health care law? >> we have done what the american people wanted us to do. we've heard from the american people they do not want the government closed down. they want us to fund the government. as well, they don't want obama care and the harmful effects of that. we've passed a continuing resolution. we also added to that a delay. now, look, this delay is not terribly unusual because the president has delayed major planks of his own legislation. he delayed the employer mandate. he has delayed the provision of verification. he's also most recently delayed the shop which was the program for the small businesses and also the limit on the out-of-pocket expenses. the government -- excuse me, the president has delayed his own bill, major planks of it. we believe this bill is not
ready for primetime. it is harmful to the american people, and we're doing what they asked us to do. that is to delay it until it can be ready for primetime. >> you talk about those delays that the president has implemented. that said, the exchanges, they're ready to go. they're up and running as of tuesday for people, for the most part. maybe a few technical glitches, but they can certainly get up and running. >> i think they're more than technical glitches. if you look at the verification piece where they don't have the i.t. system ready to verify people's income. we're setting up the hard-working taxpayer for a lot of fraud and abuse where people just self-attest. we've got navigators who only have 20 hours worth of education on a very complex kind of program. by the way, they have no background checks. they're going to get all of our personal information. we saw 2400 social security numbers that were released just last week in this whole process that's not ready to go. it is not ready for primetime, alex. >> now, when you talk about the polls you're citing where the american public says they don't want the government to be
shutdown, they're also saying they don't want the government shutdown and they don't want it shut down over this business with the affordable care act. there are polls that suggest that as well. >> alex, we're not shutting the government down. the house had a measure last night where we continued to fund the government, but we also did what the people asked us to do, which was to delay this bill, which are harmful effects to our economy. loss of jobs. >> you are certainly aware, ms. black, that the senate is not going to go along with the bill that you're presenting to them. they have said very clearly they're going to reject it. even beyond that, were they able to get something that would possibly approve it, which again is entirely unlikely, the president has said he will veto it. so in effect, isn't the house shutting down the government? >> no, we're not. we're giving the senators an opportunity to take a look at what we're sending over to them, the medical device tax was something they've already voted for in the delay in the medical device tax. they voted for that in the president's budget or in the senate's budget. so we have given them some
things. where is what they can give us to ensure the american people that the harmful effects of this bill are not going to take place? where is that? so i can't tell what the senate is going to do. i don't make a guess on what the senate's going to do. we have to act in the house upon what the american people are telling us. we're seeing jobs being lost. the rising of premiums. we're also seeing that there's limited numbers of choices for people in the health care. you know, the president said, if you like what you have, you can keep it. the american people are waking up to find out that is not at all true. >> in terms of -- >> these are promises that were not being kept by the president. >> in terms of things that will happen if the government is shut down, there are a number of people who will not be paid, government employees. granted, what you have sent back to the senate will allow for the military to be paid, which many people applaud. certainly they didn't deserve to get ious. that said, congress continues to get paid no matter what. is that fair? >> well, i don't think we're going to close the government down.
we are working very, very hard to keep the government open. we're here working on a saturday night up until midnight. we're here working. where are the senators? where was the president yesterday when we were here working? he was out playing golf. where is his negotiation? you know, i'm frankly really upset that he's willing to negotiate with russia and syria and iran, but he's not willing to negotiate with his own congressmen. >> but don't you think -- ma'am, as of yesterday, the ball was in your court, so you were doing your work. the president, i'm certain, was being informed on everything and returned to the white house with further meetings and being informed on what has happened while you were doing your work. one thing i want to say the white house did do was release the price plans for the exchanges last week. tennessee actually has the second lowest rate in the country for the average plan, $235 a month, before possible tax credits. what's your take on what we've seen so far from the financial perspective? >> well, i don't know where the numbers are coming from that you're talking about, alex. >> from the white house. >> it may be that you're talking
about what their estimated cost was going to be and the difference between the estimated cost and what it actually is was less. but when we take a look at tennessee, we see rising premiums. so i'd love to get you those numbers so that you can see the actual numbers from our department of commerce of how it's negatively going to impact the people of my very own state. >> okay. i'm actually looking at the tennessee. they've reported multiple articles. perhaps that's something to be considered. may i also ask, are you advising your constituents without health insurance not to sign up for the exchanges? >> well, i'm not advising them on anything because we still don't have definition about exactly what's going to be happening in the state of tennessee. i will say our department of commerce was very concerned about navigators, not having background checks. they're requiring -- and the state does have the authority to be able to do that. they're requiring when people take your social security number, your bank information, your health information that these are people that have been qualified not only in their
learning about the system but also that they have background checks so they don't have the most personal information that could be let out there and used in ways we would not like our identity to be used. >> certainly. representative black, i must say, you were a nurse before entering politics, for which i have tremendous respect. how does that experience paint your stance on health care? >> look, i'm going to tell you, there were things that needed to be fixed. they are things that have been in this bill that i have talked about openly that are good things such as making sure that those that are 26 years and younger can stay on their parents' plans if they're still in their parents' household, about pre-existing conditions being covered. these were absolutely things that we needed to look at. but you don't throw the whole system away and tell people, by the way, you can't keep what you like if you have it. you're going to have to do what the government says. that was the wrong direction for us to take. we need to stop, pause, look at what's good, keep what's good, and throw out what's bad and ensure the american people that we're not going to have harmful effects by this law.
>> republican congresswoman diane black, thank you for your time with me. >> you're very welcome. thank you, alex. >> the spending bill is hardly the only issue on president obama's agenda this week. in fact, tomorrow he'll be meeting with israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu where you can be sure there will be a frank and candid discussion about the president's phone call with iranian leader hasan rowhani. joining me now, nbc news white house correspondent kristen welker. a good sunday to you. what's the plan for this big meeting tomorrow? >> well, alex, good afternoon to you. the president's goal tomorrow will be to reassure prime minister netanyahu that israel's security is still the united states' key priority, that the united states is still making regional security in the middle east a key priority of course, netanyahu will be skeptical, has expressed skepticism. i can tell you according to officials here, there have been discussions behind the scenes at high levels already. the united states trying to reassure israel. i anticipate that netanyahu will ask for a specific timeline and
benchmarks as this process moves forward to try to get an agreement with iran on its nuclear weapons program. it's possible that president obama will urge patience, will argue that this is really a test and one that he would like to see play out. earlier today, national security adviser susan rice spoke about this on one of the morning talk shows. take a listen. >> obviously, when you have two leaders from two countries that have not communicated at that level for almost 35 years, it's something of a ground breaking event. but they both conveyed their commitment to trying to explore in a constructive manner the diplomatic path. >> and alex, i think that word explore is critical. certainly underscores the fact this is a test moving forward. i want to point out that president obama, prime minister netanyahu have not necessarily had an easy relationship in the
past. netanyahu seemed to endorse president obama -- i should say mitt romney during it the 2012 election. president obama tried to really reset relations during a trip to israel in march. so that continues tomorrow during what will certainly be a pivotal meeting between the two leaders. alex? >> kristen welker at the white house. thank you. so what will be open and what will be closed for the possible government shutdown? more answers ahead. and later, saturday night life p live premieres with a fresh take on obama care. the actions, the reactions. everything has to synch up. my expenses are no different. receiptmatch on the business gold rewards card synchronizes your business expenses. just shoot your business card receipts and they're automatically matched up with the charges on your online statement. i'm john kaplan, and i'm a member of a synchronized world. this is what membership is. this is what membership does. tomato florentine soup,
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house republicans are shutting down the government! >> that is just part of the passionate debate in the house last night as we inch closer to a government shutdown, potentially just one day away. the gop-led body passed legislation in the early morning hours here that funds the government but also pushes back the start of obama care for one year. joining me now, political reporter for "the washington post" aaron blake and washington bureau chief for "the chicago sun times" lynn sweet. is the government shutdown unavoidable at this point, and how did we get here? what went on behind the scenes that got us here? >> well, i don't think it's unavoidable. i think it's still very likely. i think if there was a way they were to get past it, it would probably be some very short-term continuing resolution that would keep the government funded for a few days while they continue to try to work this out. but the senate is not coming back until monday. the way these things work, it's hard to just pass something through both chambers in one day or even in a couple days. so i think we're very likely headed towards this. you know, i think this is the
culmination of a long period of time in which the right wing of the republican party has become emboldened and increasingly powerful. now we're heading towards the first potential shutdown in 17 years. i think they're getting the kind of trial by fire that they wanted. even if that means a shutdown, they feel like they've forced the leadership's hand on this issue. >> so lynn, the democratic controlled senate, the white house have made it clear this latest house bill is a complete nonstarter. is this the will of the few, the house tea party faction prevailing over the actual many? >> well, it is right now. james madison did call it the tyranny of the minority. but alex, i want to agree with something aaron just brought up. i think we're looking at the drama at midnight monday. there may be a small reprieve where there are a series of some very, very short-term, two or three-day resolutions to keep government going. but all this will do is take us
on an even more nightmarish collision course as we get near the mid-october debt ceiling. >> you make a good point with that. you both do, in fact. aaron, today's "washington post," to pick up on this, the house gop's plan is great news because he says, if a shutdown begins monday night, the republicans and democrats will have more than two weeks to resolve it, theoretically, right, before hitting the debt ceiling. so is that somewhat of a silver lining? you both are pointing to that as being the more critical of these two issues. so you think it could be solved? >> well, i like that ezra is looking at all this with a little bit of optimism. i think he's one of the few people maybe who's in that camp. you know, i think the fact is that everybody kind of recognizes that the debt ceiling debates is a harder deadline. it's a much more immediate problem if they don't meet that deadline than a shutdown. you know, a shutdown could take place for a couple days.
in the past, it has taken place for a couple days without anybody really having any really, really negative effects. i think that's what republicans are maybe banking on in this case, that they could go through it a few days and not really pay a big price. as far as a potential default goes, though, that's much more immediate. the stakes are very high. i think, though, that what you have right now is you have the republican party having at least moved away from the defund obama care and now towards a more delay obama care. so if that's maybe a sign of progress and congress coming together, maybe that's why there's reason for optimism. >> but this delay, lynn, is that even possible? aren't the wheels already in motion technically? >> well, one of the most important elements of obama care, which actually has been rolling out for a few years now, starts on tuesday. that's why it's be coincidence, but it makes for a much more difficult situation because the beginning of these shopping malls, these online shopping
malls that are called exchanges are opening up, meaning people who don't have insurance for the first time can start signing up for coverage, and that coverage policy will start in january. so it is impossible to stop that from happening because the money is already in the pipeline for the opening of this most important element of obama care that impacts a lot of people. so i don't know what the republicans are really thinking on a practical matter when they're kind of messing with people's lives who might be counting on being able to sign up for that. >> you know, aaron, in terms of how we got here, yesterday i spoke with democratic congressman tim ryan of ohio. here's what he said. >> president obama won ohio. the great senator from ohio, he won ohio. but the congressional delegation is 12 republicans to 4 democrats because of the gerrymandering. >> we're going to look at a map here. here's what it shows.
it shows democratic congresswoman marcia fudge's district after redistricting some 50 miles running north to south. this is democratic congresswoman marcy kaptur's area. you'll notice it hugging the coastline. that's 90 miles. this is all a result of the gerrymandering? is that what's at the core of this government dysfunction? >> you know, i think -- >> that's to aaron, then to you, lynn. aaron, you're first. >> sorry. you know, there is -- this is part of the reason why government is like this. i do think that the gerrymandering is a little bit oversold as a reason. republicans would have an advantage as far as the house goes regardless of who was drawing the maps. it just happened to be them in 2010, so they get to much more of an advantage than they otherwise would have. but the fact is that democratic voters in this country are very ho moj nous in urban areas whereas republicans are more
spread out. so i think democrats have a longer-term problem in the house as far as trying to win some of these more rural districts because their voters are some compact in these urban areas. >> so lynn, gerrymandering oversold? >> in this case i think so because the problem we have now is within the family fight within the republican party, which means for however you got there, you have safe republican districts. gerrymandered or not. when you have a safe district, that means that a fight often is in the primary. that's why this group of between 30 to 50 republicans who often are afraid of a challenge from the right have such power right now with their leadership. >> okay. lynn sweet, aaron blake. guys, thanks so much. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> the cheap estate for retirement. that's in today's number ones. but first, the affordable care act was the subject of the opening monologue during "saturday night live" in the season pr emi -- premiere.
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[ male announcer ] get the spark business card from capital one and earn unlimited rewards. choose double miles or 2% cash back on every purchase every day. what's in your wallet? [ crows ] now where's the snooze button? welcome back to "weekends" with alex witt. we approach the half hour. new pictures obtained exclusively by nbc news show the aftermath of the mall attack in nairobi, kenya. at least 67 people were killed, 175 wounded in the four-day siege. this weekend people lined up at the mall to retrieve their belongings that had been left during the attack. the olympic flame is on the move. it was lit this morning in greece for the 2014 winter games. it marks the symbolic start of the olympic torch relay, which will see that flame cover all 83 regions of russia before the opening ceremony. and senators are due back at 2:00 in the afternoon eastern to vote on a bill that would avert
a partial government shutdown. that measure is expected to be rejected. the white house says president obama will veto that legislation. by the way, senators back tomorrow at 2:00. a government shutdown would have far-reaching ripple effects across the country. many popular attractions like the statue of liberty would close their doors to visitors. nbc's michelle franzen not too far from lady liberty. a good sunday to you. what's the reaction you're hearing about this national treasure possibly be shutdown to tourists? >> reporter: well, you know, alex, we've been through this many times before. of course, people are out enjoying the statue of liberty tours today as well as ellis island here. but the impact from a possible closure could happen within the next 48 hours. it would impact national parks from maine all the way to california. now, an overview of that would show that places like the statue of liberty, of course, ellis island, independence hall, and alcatraz island and the washington monument would be
shutting down during that time. that means a loss of tourism dollars for all those cities and all those national parks in that area. of course, in the mid-'90s, the government shutdown affected many areas and also 9 million visitors were turned away from parks and museums and monuments. once again, we're looking at the impact it would have not only on the national park system but also for the local economies in this area, for many of the people who work for the government, the civilian branches of the government as well as other areas of the government that are impacted. many of the people who we talked to today who indirectly or directly could be affected say they're pretty much fed up with congress. >> tying our fiscal problems to health care and things of that sort where they play the political game of, you know, give and take is something that has got to stop. >> i don't think that they're going to let the government
shutdown. i don't think they really ever have. >> reporter: and again, many people that we've talked to this morning say that they hope that the government shutdown doesn't happen, but they say that america, they're worried about the economy and the effects it will have, but it may take something like this for congress to actually work on what the real issues are. alex? >> okay, michelle franzen. thank you so much from battery park. so what is open if things go down tomorrow? federal employees deemed essential will continue coming to work. that includes members of the military, air traffic controllers, border control agents, the fbi, and airport screeners. the president, members of congress, they are exempt in a shutdown, so they will continue to work. some of their staff members will have to be furloughed. social security, medicare, medicaid payments, they will continue. ditto for mail deliveries. and no surprise here, the irs says don't expect a break if there's a shutdown. taxpayers who got a six-month filing extension, they are still up against the october 15th
deadline. no matter the age, it's never too early to plan for retirement. that might include a move to a more affordable state to live. so where should you go? how about alaska? topping today's number ones, the wall street cheat sheet list of the cheap eest states for reti s retirees. wyoming is second because it doesn't have an income tax and low sales tax. low taxes also help make georgia the third best spot for retirees. new york city ties for third in a reader's digest honesty test where 12 so-called wallets were dropped across 19 cities. nine walleted were returned in mumbai. new york tied with budapest with eight wallets returned. the most dishonest, lisbon. just one wallet. madrid with two. prague with three. >> philippines! >> a crowning moment there.
ms. philippines winning the miss world pageant yesterday. megan young was born in the u.s. before moving to the philippines when she was 10. it's enough to make a grown man cry, but not this man. get back in there, tear. >> and at the box office, it's "cloudy with a chance of meat balls two" on track to finish on top. projected earnings of $35. those are your number ones here on "weekends with alex witt."
but with a mortgage. and the furniture's a lot nicer. and suddenly, the most important person in my life is someone i haven't even met yet. who matters most to you says the most about you. at massmutual we're owned by our policyowners, and they matter most to us. as you plan your next step, we'll help you get there. it has been a wet weekend in the northwest. in oregon, a powerful storm pounded portland. strong winds tore down trees which took out a transformer. that left a lot of people without electricity. nbc meteorologist dylan dreier is here with the forecast. >> good afternoon. today is not going to be much better in the pacific northwest. this same storm system is still bringing rain and a lot of wind, which i'll show you in a second. we also have a cold front that is still slowly moving through the middle of the country.
you know, chicago yesterday was up in the 80s. today it's going to top out around 71 degrees. it's 62 right now in chicago. out ahead of that front it is very nice and pleasant all up and down the east coast. we have some rain moving through the eastern great lakes. that's still stretching down to san antonio, where we had some flooding reported yesterday as well. i want to focus on the northwest from seattle into portland, now even extending into northwestern california. today could actually be worse than yesterday. we're still looking at wind gust up to 65, 75 miles per hour. we're looking at an additional 3 to 6 inches of rainfall from seattle down to the coast of oregon. that could extend into northwestern california. this is a huge system that is eventually going to taper off as we go into tomorrow. but then it goes back to just being wet as we go into the middle of the week. we're still looking at the chance of some showers, but we're not looking at this major storm to linger much past today. we are going to see the threat of showers and possibly those
win wind gusts causing damage from seattle to portland. this cold front is moving eastward. it's already cooling off in chicago. tomorrow, it's going to be on the cooler side again. about 75 in chicago. 64 degrees in new england. most of the country tomorrow besides the pacific northwest does look pretty quiet except a couple scattered showers in the gulf coast. alex? >> okay. not too bad for tomorrow. thank you so much. in today's office politics, journalist and author allison stewart. her new book "first class" is sparking talk of a tv series. at the very least, it's being used as a teaching tool on the history of black academics and successes, which is just fine with her. >> i would love if people use the book in a learning environment. i actually met the superintendent of newark schools. i went up to her and said, i'd love you to read my book. she said, i have this already. i'm giving it my teachers as a learning tool, which blew my mind. i'd like the book to be a
reminder or an introduction to a whole series of black people, or white people, who think it's a black thing. schools like dunbar prove that's not true. that's a really dangerous lie for young african-americans. i'd love it if the book were used in schools. i'd love it if the book became a mini series or tv show. i have a dream it becomes a "boardwalk empire," you know, "downton abbey" thing set in the '30s or '40s. we jokingly call it in the house "friday night blacks," which is so wrong, but so right. but that idea of the civil rights movement in the '30s and '40s in washington, d.c. and all this brain power set against the 1930s. think about the costumes. think about the issues. you can see it, right? >> absolutely. >> and the interesting thing is you would have a dunbar-like situation where think about the
talented black actors you could have in this series. you would have the corner of the market. you could have -- everybody could be an academy award nominee, you know? they would love to do some of this quality television that's coming out now. >> i'm seeing executive producer in your near future. >> consultant, perhaps. >> let's talk about your career in television. you really came into your own. mtv, 1992, the presidential race choose or lose segments. how did that come about? >> i was sitting in the office, the mtv offices. i had joined mtv in '88. came right out of college, went there, worked my way up in the news department. i was sitting in the newsroom. my boss walked through and said, the president of mtv just said we're covering the presidential election. you want to go to new hampshire next week? i said, can i think about it? i mean, i thought, i want to interview bono, i don't want to talk about this. but he knew i was into politics. he said, do you know tabit
tabitha soren? i want you to be her producer. we were tromping around new hampshire being made fun of. >> you got an award for that. >> we were all surprised. >> a lot of people still remember you for mtv because it was so bold. >> i will be forever grateful to mtv news because it taught me so much. the transition from mtv to cbs was very difficult because even though i sort of had this creative side, i had a very traditional side. then abc called and said, hey, do you want to come in and anchor with this guy named anderson cooper? i was like, i've never anchored before, i'll give it a shot. we did the overnight news there. that's one of the other places people remember me from, the overnight news. that's got such a loyal audience. >> you can't skip over the msnbc. >> no, alex came to my wedding. >> came to your wedding. >> your martini glasses are on my book shelf. >> perfect.
one of the most elegant and intimate and fun weddings ever. >> we had a great time. >> such a great time. but the point being that you met your husband at msnbc. >> i did. >> that's probably the best takeaway from the job ever. >> one of the reasons i wasn't on tv very much is i was finishing my book, but i also had a child and very ill parents. i had a father with cancer and a mother with strokes. they've both since passed away. this all happened in the last five years. it's a lot. i feel like the tv news part, radio is just not over yet. i'm the first one. i will say, no, done. but i don't think so yet. >> no, allison, come on back to tv. i'll scoot over right here. you can sit right there again. it would be fun. anyway, next weekend my interview with steve ratner, "morning joe's" economic adviser. next, a primer on obama care and what to expect from this week's rollout. run, go, go! did he just fumble? "i" formation! "i" formation! we have got to get the three-technique block!
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on tuesday health exchanges open up for the affordable care act. millions will begin shopping on state and federal exchanges for health care plans, but will they be ready? a new poll out from the kaiser foundation says 67% of people are unsure how obama care will affect their families. then there's congress. joining me now is cici connelco. it's nice to see you again. we spoke when you were with "the washington post." good to have you back. >> great to be back, alex. >> so with all this out of the way, let's start with the political issues here with just two days to go before the exchanges open for business. can obama care still really be delayed? >> the exchanges -- everyone from the president to the department of health and human services and many of those state officials and insurance companies, they all say they're about ready to launch on tuesday. a government shutdown is not
going to be affecting the starting day of the exchanges. >> okay. so how would a delay work? >> how would a delay of the exchanges work? >> uh-huh. >> i think rather than an actual delay of the start date, what we're going to see are a fair number of bumps and glitches and partial openings. and this has already been coming out over the last several week, alex. we know there are some places where there are concerns that all of the computer systems are not going to be fully operational on tuesday. so in those cases, we're seeing people putting in place back-up systems where you could sign up by paper. we know that in some states, for instance the spanish language website is probably not going to be up this coming week. there's a delay in that. there have been some delays with respect to small businesses being able to enroll online. so we have seen significant
pieces that are much slower than anyone had hoped, but technically speaking, if you are looking to buy health insurance to cover you starting january 1st, you should be able to go online at healthcare.gov or call an 800-number and start to get that information and start to get the process rolling. >> okay. now, this certainly doesn't seem likely, but were obama care to be repealed in the coming months, would that will be even easy to accomplish? because if you get the ball rolling on tuesday, how would you repeal it? >> no, i mean, alex, you and i lived through enactment, which seemed awfully difficult at the time. undoing legislation, especially a very large, complex piece of legislation, is exceedingly difficult. when you think about it, these exchanges are just one piece, an important piece of the law. but we've already had a number of elements that have taken effect. so for instance, individuals,
young people up to the age of 26 have been able to stay covered by their parents' plans. that's a very popular provision. that so-called donut hole, the gap in coverage for prescription drugs for senior citizens in medicare, they've been closing that gap since the law was passed. so when you hear the notion of repeal, undoing some of those popular pieces that are already in place would be very, very difficult. >> and now we have this poll that we were talking about. it finds well over the majority of people who need this law the most don't understand it. so the implementation is going to look like what, ceci? >> it's probably going to look slow and bumpy and maybe even in some places a bit chaotic. on the other hand, i think there are going to be places, certain states that have worked very hard on this. you look at california, their informational materials, i think
they've translated those into a dozen languages to serve that population. we know from surveying insurance companies that about 70% of the insurers that our health research institute surveyed this summer they they're going to compete in exchanges. that's a solid number. we're so focused on the government side of this law, but this is really about the private marketplace and private companies that are looking at the opportunity to get some new customers. they've been really focused on how do we reach those customers, how do we sign them up? >> how many people not insured right now will ultimately become insured because of the affordable care act? >> well, it's a bit of guesswork and projecting. i think that we, using some cbo and census data at our research institute, we anticipate that the exchanges will have about 23, 24 million people in them
over the next decade. most of those folks are going to be newly insured. there's also going to be growth in medicaid, as you know. so far about 26 states say they're going to expand their medicaid programs, and we wouldn't be surprised if that number rises. >> okay. ceci connolly. boy, i'd like to have you back every day to talk about this because it's complicated. thank you. >> you're welcome. the final episode of "breaking bad." i'll talk with someone who knows some of the final plot. maybe you won't have to watch. kidding. that's in our next hour.
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a new report to be released tomorrow delivers the toughest assessment to date on climate change and points the finger squarely at us. >> i would say there's a 95% probability that you're messing up the climate of this planet, i think that should be enough to motivate us towards action. >> this report by the intergovernmental panel on climate change is the first
since 2007. it's based on research by hundreds of the world's top climate scientists. they say it's irrefutable that humans are to blame. robin, with a welcome, can you talk about the differences between this report and the last one published back in '07? >> absolutely, alex. what's changed is not so much the data itself, besides some small fluctuations. it's largely what climate scientists have been saying for years. what has changed is the level of certainty. in the report they've said that since the 1950s, the earth has been warming and that's undebatable. but back in 2007, there was only about 90% certainty that was because of human intervention. now it's at about 95%. just to put that into perspective, that's the same level that scientists have certainty that smoking cigarettes can kill you. >> okay. that is interesting right there. what about this statement that was put out in part here by secretary of state john kerry after he saw the report? once again, the science grows
clearer, the case grows more compelling, and the costs of inaction grow beyond anything that anyone with conscience or common sense should be willing to contemplate. what's the likelihood of this report having any sort of policy impact here or abroad? >> well, i think that's what they're really hoping. with this 95%, with such stark kind of numbers like that, that they're hoping the public will really move to take action on this. it sounds like policymakers have already kind of started doing that. the u.n. secretary general has called for a meeting of heads of states to talk about possible treaty to kind of put a cap on carbon emissions that we can expect going forward. and i think he's hoping that different countries will kind of band together with this new information and really get aggressive about stopping this. >> you talk about this 95%. any wiggle room left out there for scientists who question whether climate change is real? >> yeah, you know, i think that what they said in the report is that there's certainly uncertainty, but that the
uncertainty cuts in both directions. when they have these numbers and say it could happen and it's doom and gloom and some skeptics say this is alarmist, they might be correct. it could also be the other way where it's actually worse than we had originally imagine. >> okay. excellent having you on. i appreciate the conversation. >> thanks, alex. the cost associated with shutting down government, yes, just shutting it down, is costly. we get a live look at lady liberty. we'll be right back. color, and design. showing up where we least expect it. and taking inspiration from our wildest dreams. because kohler doesn't see the world in fixtures and faucets. it reimagines. coloring our lives in ways only bold could do, it's no wonder the world can't wait to see what kohler does next.
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lawmakers taking this day off? and from lady liberty to points across the country, the nation is bracing for the worst. we have live reports and analysis straight ahead. hello and welcome to "weekends with alex witt." here's what's happening right now. the clock keeps ticking. we're one day away from a possible government shutdown with the republican-controlled house passing a budget bill that pushes back the implementation of the president's affordable care act by one year. senator ted cruz, one of the biggest names in this fierce debate, reacted on "meet the press." >> it is the democrats who have taken the absolutest position. look, i'd like to repeal every word of the law, but that wasn't my position even in this fight. my position in this fight was we should defund it, which is different from repeal. even now what the house of
representatives has done is a step removed from defunding. it's delaying it. now that's the essence of a come p -- compromise. >> democrats say it will go nowhere because they refuse to delay the implementation of obama care. >> we should have this debate, but we shouldn't connect it to a government shutdown. that's the fundamental disagreement between the two sides. we're not going to pass it because it is wrong to do a shutdown of government as the lever to make a change. >> now, the white house says president obama would veto the latest bill to come out of the house. today former president bill clinton under whom the last government shutdown occurred, said this. >> this is the house republicans and the tea party people saying, we don't want to negotiate with the democrats. we want to dictate over the senate, over the house democrats, over the speaker of the house of our own party, and over the president. we insist on dictating. >> we are covering the latest developments with nbc's kristen
kekristen welker at the white house. we start with nbc's kelly o'donnell on capitol hill. a welcome back to you. what happens now that the house has passed this latest bill? where does it sit? >> the big pressure is really on the senate. there are some questions today asking members of the senate to come back before tomorrow afternoon to be able to take the next step in this. that seems really unlikely. but what you do have is a bit of a message war going on where you have democrats saying, it really is about the house now. we've made the message clear. you have some republicans, including speaker john boehner, who put out a written statement written ago saying harry reid should make senators come back more quickly, not let some time elapse before tomorrow afternoon when the senate is scheduled to meet and to effectively kill what the house has passed in the early morning hours today. so the arm twisting is still going on. the sort of heels are well dug in. and there is this period of time that's elapsing, alex, where there is nothing official happening.
we would expect that sometime tomorrow after the senate takes this action, we presume nothing is going to avert that at this point, so then what happens? well, the house has a tough choice to make. do they try one more attempt to get something that their voters really want to see, something that relates to perhaps a change in the health care law? or do they finally blink, if you will, and go ahead and vote for an extension of government funding? that's the kind of scene we'll watch play out over the next day or so. alex? >> so if the government shuts down, kelly, is there any idea how long it will last? >> most people are telling us they think it would be just a couple of days. there would be obviously this big exhale and there would be points made on all sides, finger pointing to follow, plenty of blame to be assigned, then they have to figure something out. the real question is where is that choking point? do republicans feel they need to take it all the way to the point of a shutdown? do democrats feel that they can
tolerate even some days of a shutdown before they might give? it's the classic case of a negotiation and trying to determine where will the end game be played out. nobody seems to think it would go long like it did in 1995 where that was a few weeks. most are saying a couple of days. again, we have to see real solutions to try and make it work. >> as people look at this, how much are they keeping an eye on the debt ceiling, which needs to be raised by october 17th? >> that's the other important thing to look at. it's not just one issue and one crisis. there is that other big deadline hanging over congress in just a couple of weeks to give the government more authority to borrow more money. that's a whole other issue where there can be more debate. so that is all perhaps something that would work in order to have people say, let's not keep the government closed too long. if it gets to that point, again, we don't want to predict the future until we know, but that might help to be a leverage point. those are things that have been different than in other crises. i think there's also a sense
that we've been pushed to the brink on a number of different issues over time, and there is almost a resignation in the air about the likelihood of a shutdown. in the past, i think that has been different, that there has been greater apprehension about the consequences of a shutdown. judging the moment right now, it feels like all sides are preparing themselves for at least a short-term shutdown. >> okay. kelly o'donnell, who we never let shutdown, i might add, from capitol hill. >> we're here either way. >> i know you are, always. now to the white house, nbc news's kristen welker. have you heard any reaction yet from it the house on the vote? >> the reaction is consistent with what it was yesterday. the white house digging in its heels, reiterating it's not going to negotiate on this issue of the president's health care law, reiterating that the president would veto this bill if it were to make it to his desk, which of course it's not going to. i think the white house thinks
they have some leverage here, in part because this law was upheld by the supreme court. president obama ran on this platform of upholding his health care law. they believe they have the public support behind them. then if you look at the polls, it shows a majority of americans would place the blame on republicans if the government were to shut down. i think to some extent, the white house is hoping that public pressure will lead the republicans to make a compromise, if not in time for the deadline, in time to at least allow the debt limit to expire and essentially allow the united states to default. that would be an economic crisis. so those are the pressure points that the white house is looking at right now. but certainly, alex, if there were a default, it would be bad for everyone involved. you really get a sense when you go out and talk to americans all across the country that they're just frustrated and fed up with what they see coming out of washington. >> you know, kristen, this is of
course the president's signature piece of legislation. is there a sense within the administration that this is their legacy on the line? dare i say even their ego on the line. >> i think that's a great way to characterize it. and that is in part why the white house is just not going to budge on this issue. the president staked a lot of political capital on trying to get the health care law passed during his first term. it is highly controversial. of course, a lot of people have criticized different aspects of it. there have been some glitches leading up to the implementation, which will actually start on tuesday. but the white house is not willing to give an inch when it comes to this health care law, not to defund it or to delay it. you heard senator ted cruz make that argument. look, this represents a compromise because we're not talking about defunding the entire health care law. we're talking about delaying it. in the eyes of this white house, that would be just as bad. so i think you're right to characterize this as a legacy issue for the president.
>> okay. kristen welker at the white house. thank you. >> thanks. >> joining me now, congressional reporter for "the washington post," ed o'keefe, and contributing editor for "the daily beast," eleanor clift. eleanor, i'll begin with you. is the gop hoping to delay the affordable health care law so they can maybe get rid of it next year? >> delaying it would actually be a death blow for the plan. there are millions of people waiting for this to kick into action. you have the health exchanges in place. delaying it would not do the plan any good. the republicans certainly know that. it's not going to happen as long as this president has a veto pen and the democrats are in control in the senate. >> ed, big picture here, are we ever going to get out of this cycle of government by crisis? >> oh, alex. it's a good question.
>> you know, come on. >> i think that's the kind of thing that gets resolved by elections, frankly. i don't know what it will take to break the back of this. frankly, you know, we talk about how long a shutdown might run. it's clear that we're going into a shutdown. it's less clear how we come out of it. how long will it take? who will blink first? who will finally compel leaders in the house and the senate to talk to the white house and get a deal? it could be days. >> yeah, yeah. >> and i think after that, as we've pointed out, then you have this death ceiling fight that has to happen by the beginning of november. this short-term spending bill only extends government funding through december probably, which means we're probably going to have another one of these fights in mid-december. so at least through the end of this year we'll continue having them. if we can break out of it, ideally by next year perhaps, right before the midterm elections, maybe we get out of this and both sides can go and campaign. as awful as that is, it's probably better than governing by crisis. >> i was just talking to kelly o'donnell about that.
she was in agreement with you. where is that choking point? the general conventional wisdom is that it would last a couple days. eleanor, i spoke to tim ryan of ohio this weekend. he blamed a lot of this on j gerrymandering with all the redistricting going on. here's a case in point. this shows democratic congresswoman marcia fudge's district after redistricting. this is marcy kaptur's district in ohio. is this where we are today? is this all a result of gerrymandering? that stretches 90 miles from toledo to cleveland. that's a whole bunch of communities altogether. >> this is the price that the democrats are paying for having lost big time in 2010, which was the election that came at the census period and dictated all of the gerrymandering. democrats actually won more votes collectively for the house. yet, the republicans are in charge. so you have all of these republicans who can look to
their districts and their districts don't like obama care. so they're taking these heroic stands. but, you know, there's one gentleman who's really gotten a pass so far. that's speaker boehner. he could end this in a minute if he walked over to nancy pelosi and asked her how many votes she can put up on the board for legislation that democrats could support along with some republicans. you know -- >> but wouldn't he be out of a job then? >> well, so what? one member of congress is going to be out of a job. what about all the consequences even of a short-term shutdown? some $4 billion. i thought the republicans cared about the deficit so much. >> that would mean all of our elected officials care more about this country than they do about getting re-elected. i think there's a good question as to whether or not that is the case, for some of them certainly. ed, how do you see this playing out over the next couple weeks? >> well, we talked about this
earlier this weekend, alex. if you're a nonessential government employee, you should be making plans to spend your free time at least probably on tuesday and wednesday. congress, meanwhile, is likely to continue staring at each other. at some point, somebody is going to blink. perhaps wall street starts reacting. we'll have to wait and see. at some point they'll reopen the government in the coming days. then they'll turn immediately to the debt ceiling, which is a similar fight. conservative republicans are expected to demand that house republicans overall request a series of policy changes that the white house doesn't like, whether it's, you know, authorizing the construction of the keystone excel pipeline or making other changes with tax reform. those will be discussed in the coming weeks and this fight will continue on in a different way. >> can i ask you both whom you think will be blinking first? if that person or the entity that blinks first, if they walk away the winner, what do you think, eleanor? >> i'm going to put my money on
john boehner. while the conventional wisdom is he will be weakened, he might be strengthened if he took a courageous stand. >> i agree with eleanor. it will happen this way. the rank and file republicans will begin to hear about it, whether it's from wall street types or constituents back home, whether they begin reading polls. they will go to leadership and say, okay, now it's time for you to start talking. that's when it will happen. boehner will only do it until and/or unless his rank and file tell him he has the authority to do so. that shows you how weak a leader he is. >> as i thank you both, can i say, eleanor, i read your final article for "newsweek." laughed, wanted to cry. it was so fantastic. i just want to put that out there. it's a very powerful piece looking at 50 years of your history as a journalist. pretty extraordinary. >> thank you. but "the beast" lives on. >> absolutely. at the end there's an addendum. clarification, she is going to "the daily beast."
thank you, both, so much. >> thank you. >> take care. did the u.s. have an early warning about the mall attack on ken kenya? that's next. [knock] no one was at home, but on the kitchen table sat three insurance policies. the first had lots of coverage. the second, only a little. but the third was... just right! bear: hi! yeah, we love visitors. that's why we moved to a secluded house in the middle of the wilderness. just the right coverage at just the right price. coverage checker from progressive. with my united mileageplus explorer card. i've saved $75 in checked bag fees. [ delavane ] priority boarding is really important to us. you can just get on the plane and relax. [ julian ] having a card that doesn't charge you foreign transaction fees saves me a ton of money. [ delavane ] we can go to any country and spend money the way we would in the u.s. when i spend money on this card, i can see brazil in my future. [ anthony ] i use the explorer card to earn miles
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the federal government faces a shutdown in less than 35 hours unless congress can agree on a stopgap budget. word of the house bill delaying obama care played out on some of the pages this way. dominating "the washington post" front page, the headline "house pushes u.s. closer to shutdown." health care at heart of d.c. battle is the top headline on "the san diego union tribune." the editor is calli ining it an intense struggle over obama
care. this one from "the times news" of burlington, north carolina. same applies to "the chicago sun times" with the dramatic headline "time to act." meantime, developing news to share on last week's terror attack in kenya. nbc news can report that u.s. intelligence had early warning signs of a serious terrorist threat. joining me now from nairobi, nbc's atia abawi. what sort of intelligence are we talking about? >> reporter: hi there, alex. there are reports that colleagues in washington were able to speak to a senior intelligence official that said the nsa may have had prior knowledge to a terror attack in kenya. that said, there are terror threats that come through on a weekly, if not daily basis. this official said this warning stood out from the normal drum beat of warnings that have come in. we should also mention the local
media is reporting on a leaked dossier from the national intelligence service here in kenya that stated the kenyan government may have known in january that al shabaab may have been planning to plan out a terror attack inside of kenya. also, in that same dossier, it said the israeli government had given warning to the kenyan government that they believed terrorists would target israeli owned and operated buildings inside of kenya anywhere from september 4th through september 28th. so right now many kenyans wondering why their government didn't do anything or if they were able to know if it was actually going to happen at westgate mall or if it was more of a broad warning. alex? >> yeah, and interestingly, atia, the kenyan interior minister held that press conference this morning where there was news from that. also, harsh words for the u.s. what did he say along those lines? >> reporter: there was some harsh words for the u.s. right now he said, quote, that a travel warning that the u.s. issued for kenya was unfriendly,
counterproductive, and the fight against global terrorism. kenyans obviously relying on tourist dollars from europeans and americans. they fear that by the government stating this travel warning that more and more americans will fear coming to kenya. they don't want americans or in tourists to tifear kenya. he said the u.s. knows what terrorism is. the u.s. has faced it themselves and they should not be unfriendly to kenya. >> also, we got word of some heartbreaking scenes earlier today. people who were in the mall going back to retrieve some of their belongings that were left behind in that panic. what was that like? >> reporter: well, the last couple of days, alex, we've actually seen kenyans, citizens of nairobi going back, picking up their cars, if their cars survived the large collapse of the parking garage by that mall. it's been sad, really, to see them go in. it must be frightening. we haven't been able to talk to them to get their feelings on how it felt, but also shopkeepers going inside the mall trying to look at their shops. one jewelry store unfortunately,
there's been looting going on. 90% of her jewelry was taken. they believe it may have been done by the kenyan defense forces. >> adding insult to injury there. atia abawi, thank you so much. he's coming to america, and he's got a lot to say about president obama's phone call to the president of iran. that is next. [ male announcer ] if you suffer from a dry mouth then you'll know how uncomfortable it can be. [ crickets chirping ] but did you know that the lack of saliva can also lead to tooth decay and bad breath? [ exhales deeply ] [ male announcer ] well there is biotene. specially formulated with moisturizers and lubricants, biotene can provide soothing relief and it helps keep your mouth healthy, too. [ applause ] biotene -- for people who suffer from dry mouth. i got this. [thinking] is it that time? the son picks up the check?
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america, the land of opportunity, is facing an economic crisis with an impasse over a house bill delaying obama care by one year. we'll see what americans think in a live report in just a few minutes. and now, at 26 past the hour, let's look at so much of the day's other stories. first up, israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu is heading to the u.s. today to meet with president obama at the white house tomorrow. he'll speak at the united
nations. in t netanyahu today said he's going to the u.n. to, quote, tell the truth in the face of the sweet talk and the onslaught of smiles, unquote. he, of course, alluding to iran's recent overtures. american amanda knox goes on trial in italy tomorrow, but she won't be there. she and her ex-boyfriend are being retried for the death of o meredith kercher. a man in louisiana is accused of walking into a church during a bible service and gunning down the pastor, killing him. he's now jailed and charged with second-degree murder. no word on a motive. a big firing today in college football. usc dismissing head coach lane kiffin after the trojans lost 62-41 against arizona state. it was their seventh loss in 11 games. so hard to be a trojan fan. and the torch for next winter's olympic games in sochi, russia, is now burning bright. the torch was lit earlier today
in greece during a grand, elaborate ceremony. nbc and msnbc will be your home for the 2014 winter games, which begin february 7th. mark it on your calendar. those are your fast five headlines. up next, "breaking bad." what's in store for the series finale? a writer with ties to the "breaking bad" writing team joins us next. not double-talk. if you have the nerve to believe that in a puzzling financial world, clarity is king. [ man ] if you believe nothing beats a sit-down for knowing where you stand. [ male announcer ] join the nearly 7 million investors who think like you do: face time and think time make a difference. join us. [ male announcer ] for 90 years, it's how edward jones has made sense of investing. [ male announcer ] now, taking care of things at home is just a tap away. ♪ introducing at&t digital life...
you know j.d. power ranked passat the most appealing midsize car two years in a row? i bet, uh, dan here wishes somebody found him most appealing two years in a row. ron: it's ron. jc: ron... exactly... vo: right now get the 2013 passat for 0% apr for 60 months with optional down payment match of up to $500. welcome back to "weekends with alex witt." anyone planning a trip to see the statue of liberty in new york or the national zoo in washington may be out of luck. if the government shuts downed a midnight on monday, the ripple effect will be felt across the country. some of your favorite sites to see will be shutdown. nbc's michelle franzen is in battery park. i'm guessing a lot of people are not too thrilled with the idea of lady liberty closing her doors. >> reporter: they're not too thrilled. today they're happy they can
still go out on the tourins. you can see behind me some of the boats packed full. gives you an idea of how popular these sites are. when these parks, if they would close due to that government shutdown, it would have an impact not only to those parks itself but also a ripple effect to the cities and areas that support them. just exactly what will close, you would have all the national parks close. also, the smithsonian museums and national zoo. specifically, the statue of liberty, of course. we mentioned also ellis island. independence hall, alcatraz island on the west coast, and also the washington monument. now, the last time that the government shut down, it's been a while. it was the mid-'90s. but it did have a big impact on the parks service. some 9 million people were turned away during that shutdown at the time at the parks, museums, and monuments. if those national parks, if the government cannot work out a deal, of course, there's already a 48-hour notice that's going
into effect for many of those campers and vacationers that are trying to take in, stay overnight at those parks. they're likely getting word today they'll either need to leave or make alternate arrangements if that comes down tomorrow at midnight. in the meantime, many people are just fed up that once again the government is in this situation. >> okay. michelle franzen, thank you very much. >> it's really kind of hard to believe that this is what's running the country. the debates and the statements are just -- i can't imagine that kind of hatred just because of who's sitting in the white house. it's bizarre. >> i think it's, you know, unnecessary. they could be doing other things. >> tying our fiscal problems to health care and things of that sort where they play the political game of, you know, give and take is something that has got to stop. >> i don't think that they're going to let the government shut down. i don't think they really ever
have. >> well, actually, they have. anyway, michelle franzen, thank you very much. i'm glad we got in those people's comments. well, here's what we've been asking all of you today in term of more comments. how concerned are you about a government shut down? here are some of your tweets to me. not concerned at all. essential services will continue and everything else merely focuses on congressional ineptitude. peter answers, very much concerned. economic recovery will be affected, more americans will be thrown under the bus. frank says, we are witnessing the implosion of the republican party. i am concerned this will hurt the fragile recovery. you can all keep talking to me. my handle is @alexwitt. we'll get to your tweets it later on. as congress battles over a stopgap spending bill, "the washington post" says various departments of the government have been on a spending spree. they're racing to spend their remaining budget before the fiscal year ends tomorrow. the idea is use it or lose it. the post says the department of veterans affairs bought more than half a million dollars of
artwork. the agriculture department spend $144,000 on toner cartridges in one day. now to one of the most monumental moments in tv history. after running nearly six years of amc's "breaking bad" ends tonight. the show just won its first award in the coveted best drama for a cable or network television series at the emmys last sunday. >> hank, listen to me. you've got to tell them now that we can work this out, please. please. >> you want me to beg? you're the smartest guy i ever met. are you too stupid to see he
made up his mind ten minutes ago? >> after that scene, more than 8 million people already tuning in tonight to see how it all ends for walter white. joining me now, brett martin, author of the book "difficult men." he spent time in the "breaking bad" writers room while doing research for his book. do you know how this is going to end? >> oh, no, i do not know. i don't think any of us civilians have been told. i wouldn't want it any other way after watching 60 hours of this stuff. you know, to have it spoiled at the last minute would have been the worst thing possible. >> okay. vince gilligan, who's the show writer. is tonight walter white's "say hello to my little friends" moment? in other words, did he nail the tra tra transformation? >> that's been so amazing in
this last run. it's like he finished that mission early on. now we've been in completely uncharted territories where, you know, we really don't know what's going to happen next. it's been such an explosive, propulsive few episodes that, you know -- and we really got to "scarface" very quickly. if you were paying attention over the last few years, he's been like that for a while. >> 8 million people we said expected to watch this finale tonight. you have folks talking about having parties and all sorts of viewing things like that. i mean, why is this show such a huge hit for the viewers? where does it come from? >> well, it was certainly well earned. it took a lot of years for people to catch on. i think that people are really excited to be part of a moment like that. those things don't happen very much anymore or television. we're all watching different things at different times. you know, watching -- except for the super bowl, when do 8 million people get together and watch one thing all at once? i think that's part of it, that excitement. then they've done such a good job of bringing in new viewers
who may not have watched previous seasons and making it, you know, just an exciting, unbelievably sort of thrilling ride that it's obviously caught on. there's a critical mass talking about this show that is, you know, rivals any show i've ever watched. >> do you think this show would have succeeded, say, 10, 15 years ago? >> well, it would have been unheard of 10, 15 years ago. before the revolution that i write about in the book, you know -- >> which you call the golden age of television, we should say. >> yes, the third golden age of television. built on the backs of a kind of hero that really just didn't exist on television. in fact, had been thought to never work on television that really began with tony soprano. we see in walter white who's, you know, truly become a kind of devil. we see sort of the ultimate version of what tony soprano was, which was a character that is both sympathetic on certain levels and totally repulsive on others. >> you know, you're talking
about this kind of devil-like character. how long can show runners push characters like this into this bad guy territory before the public turns on them? >> well, that's been the kind of experiment of this show throughout. you know, throughout the entire show it has been about removing one by one the reasons to root for walter white. amazingly, what we've learned is that people are willing to stick with him or at least when their well-written and complicated characters are willing to have complicated responses to them for much longer than you'd ever expect. >> where do you think the show fits overall into the pantheon of television's best shows? >> i think it's up there. i mean, i think that, you know, all the great shows stand on their own with their own ambitio ambitions. they don't really compare to each other very well. but i think that in this golden age, you know, of the sopranos, the wire, madmen, breaking bad, a handful of others, this last
season has absolutely secured "breaking bad's" place in that pantheon. >> do you have any idea how it's going to end? >> i really don't. i will dodge that by quote bryan cranston, who told me when i asked that question, and he of course is this phenomenal actor bringing us walter white. he said the perfect way for "breaking bad" to end is however vince gilligan wants it to end. >> perfect. thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> it's sunday. it's a day of rest, but should it be for congress with the government on the brink of a shutdown? the big three is next as we look at the statue of liberty. i love having a free checked bag with my united mileageplus explorer card. i've saved $75 in checked bag fees. [ delavane ] priority boarding is really important to us. you can just get on the plane and relax. [ julian ] having a card that doesn't charge you foreign transaction fees saves me a ton of money. [ delavane ] we can go to any country and spend money the way we would in the u.s. when i spend money on this card, i can see brazil in my future.
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the crowd. a testimonial that might make you cringe a little. >> i've asked regular americans to come out and tell you how the affordable care act will change your lives for the better. regular people like jennifer osborne, a sales clerk right here in maryland. >> thank you. thank you, mr. president. and let me start by saying, i am psyched for obama care. >> there you go. i love that enthusiasm. >> because now that i've got free health care, i can get sick all the time. woo, free medicine, y'all. >> well, that's not really how it works. >> i've stopped washing my hands, and i'm looking inlickin subway polls. thanks, president. >> ew. that tees up the big three in today's topics. counting the hours, all about ted, and this week's must read. let's bring in my big three panel. msnbc contributor and former bush/cheney senior adviser, robert traynam, patricia murphy,
and jamie williams. hi, you guys. good to see you. robert, i'm going to start with you as we get to the counting the hours. are republicans going to take the blame if the government shuts down in just one day from now? >> i think it depends on who you ask. if you ask the republican base, probably not. the republicans know exactly what they're doing. they've read their polls. they know what their constituency is. remember, alex, the house is very much drawn on very conservative, at least on the republican side, very conservative districts. they know what they're doing. however, to the larger extent, moderates and democrats out there are probably going to blame the republican party for shutting down the government. so i think it depends on who you ask and you'll get two different answers. >> jamie, if the government shutsdown -- you know, i was going to ask you about president obama, but i want you to recall an e-mail we exchanged earlier today, the specifics of the kinds of people that will be
affected by this government shutdown. i want you to share that. >> one of them, for example, the navy yard shooting that just happened a couple weeks ago. i think if you read the reports in "the washington post" and other papers, there was a conference room in which a bunch of navy yard employees had barricaded themselves into while the shooter was trying to get in. they put steel furniture up against the door. he started firing. the bullets went through the dry wall, hit a guy in the leg, et cetera, et cetera. my best friend's partner was in that room. he helped put the furniture up. what's the government going to do? how are they going to say, thank you for your service to your country, thank you for not dying for your country? they're going to shut them down. they're going to get furloughed, no paychecks. the guy that got shot in the leg in that conference room by that terrorist guy, he's not going to get paid. is that any way for the gop to say thank you to those people at the navy yard? i don't think it is. >> patricia, the senate, the house, they're both off today. they're not meeting again until
tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. at this point. should they be working today, or is it too little too late? >> i think they should be working today. it is too little, too late, by the way. any member of the house and senate -- all members of the house and senate could have prevented this. i think it's 100% guaranteed we're going to have a shutdown. they didn't need to have this happen. i understand that republicans have their own problems with obama care. they've had a chance to defund that, delay it multiple chances, more than 40 times, and it just hasn't gone through. so now i think we're seeing what's going to happen, democrats, at the same time, haven't come to the table to talk about how to keep the government open. it is too little, too late. i don't know why in the world everybody isn't in washington trying to fix the situation. >> okay. real quickly, jimmy, gerrymandering. is this as a result of that? we were giviing explicit exampls in ohio's 9th and 11th
districts. is that really part of the problem here? >> sure. robert alluded to this. your district is drawn, you know, 80% republicans. so why would you even pay attention to the 20% of the rest of the people in your district? that's the problem here. you have these districts that simply don't reflect america. they reflect america's politics, a divided politics, but they don't reflect -- you know, look at the california districts. those are drawn pretty evenly. for the first time in a very long time, those california members actually have to go into their districts and run and get though know their constituents whereas if you're in one of those ohio districts, you could care less what the other people say. the democrats don't matter, and there are just as many gerrymandering liberal districts as there are conservative. i will admit that. >> okay. patricia, i want to talk about an article you wrote. it was really interesting, in-depth about ted cruz and his days at princeton. what's the big takeaway from that? >> my takeaway from that was that since he was 17 years old,
ted cruz has been a wildly divisive figure. i talked to people who remembered in vivid detail how much they hated ted cruz, quite frankly. his own freshman roommate said the only reason ted would talk to me was so he convinced me of the rightness of his argument. that argumentative streak really has not changed. i also talked to people who liked ted cruz a lot, and they felt like he was a very kind person, very gentle spirit, but the two views were radically different. i think we're seeing that play out on a much larger stage today. >> didn't he win a national debate? a very prestigious award there, which of course feeds into how he's able to do so well right now on the platform that he is standing. >> oh, absolutely. ted cruz was the north american debate champion. he was the best debater not only in the united states but in all of north america. he's a gifted debater. people would say he loves to argue. but a lot of people also said he wants to argue no matter what he's arguing about. i think that we've been able to
see a senator come on the scene with eight months of experience in the senate able to tie up the entire congress not only because of his ability to debate just about anybody into a paper he'. and he's been known his entire life as being extremely ambitious. i think this is another example of it. >> certainly a hard worker. harvard law school grad. >> absolutely. finished top of his class just about. >> robert, why does senator cruz seemingly have so much influence over the republican party right now? is it the debate skills and is it good for the gop as a whole? >> ted cruz relies me of a rick santorum or ted kennedy. he stokes people's passions and emotions. one can make the argument in a good way, some could make it in a bad way. but at the end of the day he's a fearless person who is willing to go up to the beehive and hit
it, not afraid to speak of with things he believes in. i'm not sure he's a spokesperson for the republican party, but he is an influential player as relates to how people are feeling not only about obama obamacare, but the overall direction of government. >> he himself reacted today, senator cruz i'm talking about, on the "meet the press" to the how's latest bill and obamacare. listen and we'll talk on the other side. >> for all of us who want to see it repealed, simply delaying it for american families on the same terms as being done for big corporations, that's a compromise and at the same time, david, on the other side, what have the democrats on compromised on? nothing. their position is absolutely no no matter what. how is that compromise? >> so what is your reaction? >> well, so robert just made a very interesting point which he brought up ted kennedy and rick santorum, which i worked in the
chamber with them as did roberts. ted cruz has zero desire, zero desire to make a compromise with anyone. he doesn't want to make deals. he doesn't believe in back room deals. he ran against back room deals. rick santorum actually liked making deals. paul wellstone made deals. ted kennedy made deals. they knew how to get the deal. ted cruz has zero interest in that. he wants to burn the government down and that is not good for america. >> robert, make it quick. >> just quickly, the difference between a ted cruz and rick santorum and some of the others i mentioned is they love the game, they love politics. which is something that we're seeing -- something we don't see quite frankly from this president and from certain senators. that's the bad thing. >> not surprisingly we'll have to blister through the big three must reads coming up. to prove e is the better choice for her, she's agreed to give it up. that's today?
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we're back with the big three for their must reads. we have like 1:10, 9, 8 -- so we don't have a lot of time. let's go right to it, robert. >> politico has a great story on president obama and how he has a distant relationship with capitol hill. not only just with republicans, but also with democrats. and i think it's a must read for anyone who really wants to understand the psychology of this president and how he nob y negotiates. >> my must read is a must watch, an hour long interview with ted cruz it happened friday night from the texas tribute fest. one question he would not answer is he running for president in 2016. he found a lot of other ways to say anything but yes or no. >> okay. jimmy, yours. >> "new york times" a great piece about how the large health insurers are now not covering mental health parity and that's a problem considering the navy yard shooting and how you have these crazy people getting guns,
but insurance companies aren't stepping up to the plate despite the fact the law tells them they should. >> you're rock stars. thanks for wrapping so quickly. that's a wrap of this sunday edition of weekends with alex witt. we'll have headline updates and breaking news as it happens. have a good one.
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breaking news this morning, government by crisis, we are one step closer to a government shutdown, so how will it end? >> our message to congress is this, do not shut down the government. do not shut down the economy. pass a budget on time, pay our bills on time. >> all republicans are asking tonight is give the nation a year to study a 2500 page bill that even speaker nancy pelosi had not a clue what was in it. >> this morning, the fight and the politics behind the standoff, an exclusive interview with republican senator cruz of texas. he has elevated the fight to new levels.